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back to article $1.5k per complaint. Up to 1,900 gTLDs. Brand owners, prepare to PAY

Brand owners may face a costly battle to fight 'typosquatters' under a new top-level domain regime, an expert has warned. In 2011 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body that oversees the identification of websites, voted to expand the number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that are in use …

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Doesn't this also forget that trademark rights are limited to particular fields?

I.e. Microsoft don't own a trademark on "Windows", they own a trademark on "Windows" in the field of operating systems (and possibly some other fields, I'm not going to go and chase up their registrations)

Whereas this centralised clearing house seems to grant a trademark holder in one field the ability (possibly) to prevent a legitimate trademark owner for the same name in a different field from registering their domains.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doesn't this also forget that trademark rights are limited to particular fields?

"brand owners who register trademarks have, subject to certain conditions, the general right to prevent others using marks that are either identical or similar to theirs"

McDondalds can't stop you opening a car repair shop called McDonalds, and releasing a range of tools called "McDonalds Spanners". Their Trademark rights can only be used to stop you running a restaurant called McDonalds!

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Re: Doesn't this also forget that trademark rights are limited to particular fields?

Also trademarks are geographically limited.

I think they are also language limited.

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Re: Doesn't this also forget that trademark rights are limited to particular fields?

Trademark law wasn't written at a time to take the internet into account. There can only be one tld so if you've got competing trademarks, only one of them is going to get the domain.

BTW: In this instance the more obvious example would seem to be an Apple tld. Should it belong to the chips & fondleslabs? The record company? Or an association for the growers of real fruity goodness?

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WTF?

Cluster...

No matter how you look at it this seems like a bad idea... and a money grab. Doesn't the ICANN impose some sort of fee/license on operators of a gTLD? My memory is a bit rusty. At any rate opening the floodgates is going to cause headaches for all involved. Even the end user as they have to contend with even more fishing sites.

After reading the article from a few days ago on gTLD's I was left with the impression that only a few more gTLD's were being considered. This seems like open season. With a lot of red tape... ><

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Re: Cluster...

Agreed. Its difficult to see any benefit from the whole farrago. I thought ICANN was supposed to be a charity aimed to promote the public good but all we are seeing here is a recipe for money grabbing, scams and a worse internet than we have. If they were based in the UK I'd be requesting a review of their charitable status and an investigation as to why they are up to these antisocial tricks.

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Re: Cluster...

Ragequit,

There were something like 1,500 applications for new gTLDs (from memory). Although quite a lot of them were duplicates. Also ICANN didn't say that was all there could ever be, just that this was a one-off big chunk, that would go through in one process, and then they'd sit back and wait for a few years before doing the same again.

How much of that was marketing is another question. i.e. Get your special offer now, there might not be a chance to set up your own gTLD for literally YEARS!

It is a nice extra little slice of scam to charge a few hundred dollars extra to operate a trademark register, which is barely effective anyway. And of course to charge for dispute resolution too.

It's basically a horrible mess. But a profitable mess.

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Boffin

Re: Cluster...

Yep. ICANN, by giving themselves a license to print money at everyone else's expense creating massive confusion in the process, and subject only to the laws of the State of California, have just created the perfect argument for the ITU to setup a competing root, and for DNS resolver admins everywhere to point at the ITU root version. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, but that's what too much greed and arrogance always does I guess.

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FAIL

Re: Cluster...

@pylets : I'd *really* like to see that happen.. Of course there have been alternate root exercises before, but if properly organised, and ready to go when the icann mess goes tits-up, there may be a real chance to avert this "cluster ...."

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Re: Cluster...

An awful lot of companies have an awful lot of money, both branding and advertising, tied up in the current domain name system. It's very unlikely that they're going to want to change, without even more severe provocation than this. The most likely thing for them to hope is that no-one cares about the new gTLDs and the whole issue pretty much goes away, with a minimal defensive effort on their part.

Take the example of comparethemarket.com. That's their name. They've spent a fortune advertising it, and comparethemeerkat.com as well of course. Their whole schtick is based around that - and if they had to change, it would be quite disruptive.

Although I suppose we could go back to com.comparethemeerkat, and make no other changes.

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Re: Cluster...

"No matter how you look at it this seems like a bad idea... and a money grab"

When you look at the people behind this (hint, they now work for registries), you'll understand that's exactly what it is.

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Money... That's what they want....

This whole idea has been a mess from start to finish and I'm yet to hear a decent reason why we need more gTLDs.

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JDX
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Re: Money... That's what they want....

How else would we get URLs like little.fluffy.cloud or sitonmy.face?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Money... That's what they want....

I was happy when all we had was .com .co.uk .org and .net

All this other stuff appears .me.uk .blog etc etc, half of the time it's never used. Buying a domain in one of those areas is like buying a swamp with plans to turn it into luxury housing.

The ONLY reason I can see for an overhaul of TLDs would be just that, a complete overhaul.

Go back to the old ways where .COM sites were for commercial entities only.

Go back to having .ORG for non profit organizations, charities etc.

Go back to .GOV being for government sites

Go back to .EDU being for educational sites (but add in the additional educational sites such as w3shools etc)

Then have .NET open to the rest of us

Effectively have the categories of the site defined in the TLD, the way it was originally intended. Far less confusing, and provided they're monitored correctly, then we wouldn't need to worry about getting additional TLDs for the rest of the sites in the hopes of making more realestate to avoid the squatters.

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Re: Money... That's what they want....

For those at the top of the gTLD pile, "money" is a decent reason.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Money... That's what they want....

The domain name net is a generic top-level domain (gTLD) used in the Domain Name System of the Internet. The name is derived from network, indicating its originally intended purpose was for organizations involved in networking technologies, such as Internet service providers and other infrastructure companies. However, restrictions were never enforced and the domain is now a general purpose name space. It is still popular with network operators, and is often treated as an alternative to com.

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FAIL

Re: Money... That's what they want....

USENet comes to mind.... I can remember advocating (humourously) alt.sex.with.dogs

I think that the.com, .net, .edu and .org domains should be rolled into the company's (or whatever) country-of-home-office's country TLD. .gov would become .gov.us. All of the ones created a few years back should do the same (or be deleted) and all of new ones have their money refunded and cancelled and let them re-apply under their corporate headquarters' home country.

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Re: Money... That's what they want....

"I was happy when all we had was .com .co.uk .org and .net"

Sadly that only works if everyone agrees to abide by US law, and most people don't have that option. Even within the .com domain, most sites probably aren't exposed to the ire of a US court to any extent beyond losing their domain registration and that only costs them a few dollars. ".com" might as well be ".anon" for legal purposes.

The current crop of gTLDs are, indeed, a complete waste of time. However, the country code TLDs could be turned into something useful if the rules were changed that you could only have foo.{cc} if you set up in {cc} as a legally liable entity with a cash pile appropriate to your parent organisation's size. (Ideally, we'd align IPv6 address ranges on the same lines.) End-users could then assume that anything on *.{cc} obeyed "local law" and that the local entity could be forced by a local court to pay out a sensible amount in damages if they lost a case. Politicians could pass laws applying to anyone with a {cc} domain and have a reasonable chance of enforcing them. End-users could then choose to filter their internet usage by {cc}.

This doesn't even need international agreement, since the registrars for the {cc} domains generally already are within the legal jurisdiction in question. Anyone who doesn't want to live by the new rules is free to "emigrate" by moving their operation to a new domain name.

This would leave .com, .org, etc. to those who want to be part of the US. I'm fine with that. They, in turn, would have to be "fine" with consumers in every other country on Earth preferring to deal with a site under the local {cc}. The big multinationals seem to have those registrations already, so I doubt it would be a problem.

Given that all of us are subject to some legal system, it is frankly amazing that the internet has become so pervasive without any serious effort to partition it into legally coherent sections. All we've had so far are (local) politicians queuing up to call for a (worldwide) ban on stuff they don't like. It's almost as though humanity at the end of the 20th century saw the possiblity of creating something that would by-pass all existing legal restrictions and everyone thought: "Yeah, let's move all our social and commercial lives over there. Who needs laws anyway?".

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Re: Money... That's what they want....

"This would leave .com, .org, etc. to those who want to be part of the US. I'm fine with that."

I'm not. The USA has .us so can use .co.us, .org.us etc. The US "owning" the original TLDs is an historic anomaly. That would fit better with your suggestions. Leave the "old" .com, .org etc for true multinational organisations.

Joe'stools and pipe works doesn't need a .com. A .co.{cc} should suffice. Or even,in a place as big as the USA, joestoolandpipeworks.az.us, assuming they are a small, local Arizona company for example.

(A quick Google on ".co.us" indicate that the .us domain registry owner is using .co.us for official local Govt counties. <sigh>)

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Re: Money... That's what they want....

"Leave the "old" .com, .org etc for true multinational organisations."

I'm afraid you've missed the point. I don't want there to *be* any true multinational organisations. When I access a server via DNS lookup, I want to know what laws apply to the server just by examining the TLD. If .com continues to mean "global", I can't do that.

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Re: Money... That's what they want....

"USENet comes to mind.... I can remember advocating (humourously) alt.sex.with.dogs"

And I can remember someone newgrouping it about 15 minutes later. However you didn't make a fortune out of it and ICONN stands to do exactly that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Money... That's what they want....

A quick Google on ".co.us" indicate that the .us domain registry owner is using .co.us for official local Govt counties. <sigh>

I've yet to see a city, county or state in the us that does not us .gov

Some thing like this courts.ca.gov, That tells me it's for the courts in California, now what was long and ugly were the URLs for community colleges. citycollege.west valley.cc.ca.edu. denotes that it's a city college in the state of California and is in the West Valley community college . Most Community colleges have switched over to .edu

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Simple solution

Increase the cost of registering in new gTLDs to a nice figure. Lets say $1500 for the first, and double for each one after that (doubling as you go).

The typosquatters would need to start paying "big bux" and after a while go away. Of course having "meaningful content" would be a nice idea as well.

Maybe one could "reserve" typosquatting names but not allow them to be used (they wouldn't resolve). If someone objected to the reservation, then the dispute would take over (your filing fee please). All this "get me a domain name" stuff is a bit silly. Maybe a TLD that ONLY registers trademarks that are filed with a government (where a fee is paid) would be a good idea.

The thought of "reg" comes to mind, but this site might be a bit biased.

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Anonymous Coward

""With the existing number of 22 gTLDs set to be expanded to a potentially endless extent, brand owners potentially face hundreds of cases where typosquatters could register similar domain names to their registered marks. There will be a number of routes brand owners could take to tackle typosquatters, including accessing the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) process to obtain a suspension on the operation of particular domain names, but, this is limited."

So your elderly or tech-illiterate mum/dad or grandmother/father will fall for more miscreant’s traps. That’s not the making of a safe/useful internet. I'd expect to see ICANN being sued for not offering protections and enabling fraud.

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IP addresses

And what about IP addresses? If the net is still operating on IPV4 then there may not be enough for all these new gTLDs. Just a thought.

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Happy

Re: IP addresses

At $150,000 a pop for new gTLDs that amount of money would be beyond the dreams of avarice. Even ICANN's worldly desires don't go that far.

For that kind of money the people of Magrathea might consider coming out of retirement again.

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Re: IP addresses

IPV4 is on the long way out, but that isn't one of the reasons. You only need a different IP for SSL HTTP domains and that's only for clients which don't implement the increasingly well supported SNI workaround..

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Re: IP addresses

Good point, it does make you wonder where the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, as it would of made technical sense (but probably not business sense) to only allow these new gTLDs to be accessible via IPv6.

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Anonymous Coward

Band of brands

Maybe a bunch of large brand-holders should sue ICANN directly on the basis of ICANN instituting a policy that is designed to dilute the value of their brands.

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Re: Band of brands

a policy that is designed to dilute the value of their brands

The thing is that the whole idea of diluting the value of a brand by using a close spelling in a domain name is a bunch of hooey anyway. Mostly people click on links, and besides, spelling isn't as hard as some marketeers would have you think. We have had similar spellings for as long as there have been written words. My friend Jon is not about sue my other friend John for diluting his identity, and in any case I have no trouble telling them apart. If I did, we'd have another problem on our hands - either with the Jo*s or with me.

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DNS is broken anyway

The whole point of DNS is 1) to provide human-readable names instead needing to know the (IP) address of sites and 2) to provide a logical reference to a domain so that fail-over, edge-caching, transition to new hardware or hosting, etc. can all be transparent to the users of the domain.

It worked fine when there were a few thousand entities on the net, since there was very little conflict on shared names. It's hopelessly broken when every company, no matter how small or local, wants to use its company name for its domain - because of the way trademarks are allocated, you'd need to add field-of-use and geographic extent to each trademark in order to get a non-conflicting domain name. "apple-computers.com" vs. "apple-records-uk.com" Some companies already do this, while the bigger ones just force others to yield them generic (non-restricted) trademark domain names. On the flip side, you have the problem of monopolisation of non-trademark words (e.g. sex.com).

And then you get into all the problems of typo-squatting, because you're relying on people accurately typing a domain name, in an environment that does not provide assistance (completion, matching close results, etc.)

What we really need is a mechanism where you could just type in what you're actually looking for - in whatever terms make most sense to you - and you could be taken to the site you want to visit, without having to worry about the exact text of its domain name. It could even offer suggestions ("Result for 'ford cars'; click here to search for 'frod cars'.").

The only thing we'd need to change is, instead of showing the domain name the result would take you to, it would show you the validated cert. for the site: "This site belongs to Ford Motor Co. of America." It doesn't matter then if the domain name is "ford.com" "fordmotors.com" or "fordmotorco.com" - and I'd argue that no user cares either, as long as it points to an official site of Ford's.

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